TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner this week announced an extension of the tribe’s Community Impact Grant program for organizations that participate with the tribe’s Community and Cultural Outreach programs.

In August of 2022, the tribe announced a one-time grant program of up to $25,000 for CCO-participating organizations operating both inside the reservation, and those outside the reservation known as “at-large” organizations.

“The response has been so encouraging,” said Chief Hoskin. “This program is one more way Cherokee Nation can get behind the grassroots efforts of Cherokees at the local level.”

Although dozens of CCO participating organizations have applied for funding, a number of eligible organizations were in the process of completing applications as of the original December 31, 2022, deadline.

“Although we need to hear from all eligible organizations as to their interest in this exciting program, our goal has always been to get this money out into the communities rather than impose a rigid deadline,” said Deputy Chief Warner. “The application is simple and, once the initial application is received our staff will work closely with applicants to make any needed changes to the application to meet the organizations’ needs.”

The new Community Impact grants add to the existing CCO programs and provide up to $25,000 for the following community impact areas:

  • Community food security
  • Community organization public outreach/membership drives
  • Community needs survey
  • Community organization overhead costs
  • Support for volunteer in-kind assistance for community members in need

“Community Impact Grants have generated a great deal of excitement in communities across the reservation and at large,” said Cherokee Councilmember Joe Deere of District 13. “For example, CCO-participating organizations in Catoosa, Owasso, Sperry, and North Tulsa are working on food security and community outreach projects.”

To date, 27 organizations have applied for Community Impact grants from Cherokee Nation.

Bill Davis, president of Native American Fellowship Inc. in South Coffeyville, said NAFI plans to use its $25,000 Community Impact grant for a variety of needs.

“Over the next two years we will use the $25,000 to pay our utility bills, bring cultural enrichment activities to the community, and help people who are struggling to get the food they need when times are rough,” Davis said.

Cheryl Cooper, a board member of Hulbert Cherokee Community Organization, said the organization has “already used part of its grant for a food security project over the Christmas holiday.”

Melissa McKee, president of Kansas City Cherokee Community, along with the board of directors of the organization, said the group will use its funding to overcome hardships that occurred because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will address food insecurity needs in the community, provide community outreach, increase membership drives, and address the overhead costs of the community group.

“The end goal of the entire dedicated Kansas City Cherokee Community Board of Directors is to use these funds to not only strengthen our community presently but to ensure our descendants experience, understand, and rely on our shared Cherokee community values and traditions. We will make sound decisions to ensure the Kansas City Cherokee Community is here for the next seven generations to come,” the board said.

Only the nearly 70 on-reservation and at-large CCO-participating community organizations are eligible for a Community Impact Grant. Funds received under the grant must be spent by the end of 2024.

Community impact grants are in addition to long-standing CCO capacity building and capital improvement grants which total over $8 million during the next three years.

To apply for Community Impact Grants, CCO-participating organizations should contact Kevin Stretch. For more information on CCO programs and services, call 918-207-4963 or visit www.cherokee.org/all-services/community-cultural-outreach.